FLORENCE — A nonprofit adult day care center that has invested approximately $250,000 into its program and quarters is seeking some reimbursement from that investment now that they are forced to move.
Since 2009, Westminster Interfaith Caring Place has operated its adult day care facility in space leased from the Brandon Ministry Center.
There is a contract in place to sell the building to RegionalCare in anticipation for a new hospital on the site. Now, Westminster Interfaith Caring Place, or WICP, must relocate, which won't be an easy or affordable transition, according to program co-founder Elba Barnes.
Because the facility serves the elderly population, many of whom have Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, change will be difficult, she said.
Sandra Sockwell, who serves on the WICP board of directors, said the group is facing a worst-case scenario. They'll not be able to provide services if another location isn't found soon.
And, because of the special needs of the population served there, "We can't close for a week to transition because it would destroy any progress they've made because people with dementia don't deal well with change," Sockwell said. "It's always a setback when their environment changes."
Still, Sockwell and Barnes said they understand change must come. The pressing issue now is the fact that they don't have money to bring another building up to necessary building codes for their clientele.
Barnes said the initial renovation costs alone at the Brandon Center totaled $105,000. Part of that money came through grants, while $20,000 was from a bank loan.
The program operates primarily on grants and fundraising efforts, and depends heavily on volunteer labor. Duplicating their funding and labor, Barnes fears, will be difficult if not impossible, once relocated.
The facility employs seven people, both full and part time, including nurses and health care professionals.
In all, the organization has spent approximately $250,000 in bringing the building up to code for fire and other security regulations as well as improvements that aided in keeping program participants safe.
Barnes said because the money went into the Brandon Ministry Center's building, her organization needs reimbursement so it can afford to relocate.
"We have some (re-location) possibilities, but until we have money, we can't do anything," she said.
Her program and New Vision Church are the last remaining tenants in the building.
Barnes said she initiated a meeting with the Brandon Center's district officials and presented to them a full explanation of WICP's investments in the building. However, she said, there's been no word on whether they'll receive financial help or any reimbursement from the group.
Barnes said she also met with RegionalCare CEO Russell Pigg in mid-October but has not received a commitment for help from the hospital group.
Pigg declined to speak to the TimesDaily on Friday about the issue.
The center is in the fifth year of a seven-year lease, according to Barnes. She said the financial impact to the program, including projected costs imposed by a move, is $513,000.
Barnes said the facility serves about 20 families on a daily basis.
"I'm more focused on what it's going to cost us to recreate what we have now somewhere else," she said. "I just don't know how we can do it."
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.